Thousands of square metres of protective forest in the northern province of Tuyen Quang's Lang Chua Village have been destroyed, but local authorities and forest rangers say nothing has been done about it.
The protective forest area in Lang Chua Village, Tuyen Quang Province that was illegally destroyed.
The illegally-destroyed protective forest is located in Trung Ha Commune of Chiem Hoa District, vietnamplus.vn online newspaper reported on Thursday. At present, there are only stumps of 15-20cm in diametre left on the hillside.
On February 29, local rangers discovered 15,077cu.m of timber in the national highway area adjacent to Hong Quang Village. According to local people, all of the timber was extracted from Dang Van Minh's plantation forest plot, in Lang Chua Village.
Tran Van Tuyen, head of Trung Ha Commune Ranger Station, said the rangers have not yet determined where the timber was cut down from. The station issued a notice to find the owner of the timber but no one has replied as yet.
The newspaper’s investigation revealed Dang Van Minh, living in Lang Chua Village, had sold about 0.8ha of protective forest area to a man named Diep residing in Ban Thang Village.
Minh said: "I sold a part of the protective forest area managed by my family to Diep, at a cost of VND9 million."
However, Minh could not provide any documents or papers proving the forest area was sold under the exploitation and use rights of his family.
Minh said he had had a verbal sale agreement with Diep.
The procedures for granting permits of forest exploitation were carried out by Diep.
Trieu Van Ta, Head of Lang Chua Village, said that Minh's forest area sold to Diep was State-owned protective forest land, making logging and exploitation strictly prohibited.
However, Diep allegedly cut down the trees for their timber.
This protective forest area located at the Khe Khuoi Noi upstream plays an important role in preventing flash floods, erosion and landslides in the region.
It also provides water for agricultural production and household use of hundreds of households in Trung Ha Commune.
After learning that Minh sold the forest area to Diep who carried out logging, Lang Chua Village authorities worked with Trung Ha Commune People's Committee to investigate.
Local authorities have warned Diep and some related people not to fell trees in the protective forest area.
According to Ta, village authorities did not hand over any related papers on forest management to Minh. He sold part of the protective forest area for his own profit.
Additionally, when cutting down the trees, Diep did not report to local authorities but hired some people to do the work.
Ma Doan Luu, Chairman of Trung Ha Commune People's Committee, confirmed the illegal deforestation incident occurred in Lang Chua Village, saying communal authorities worked with Forest Protection Office to make a record at the scene, capturing the amount of timber and would handle the case and loggers in accordance with the law.
He also said the communal People's Committee did not receive any papers to ask permission for exploiting forest products in Lang Chua Village.
Head of Trung Ha Commune Ranger Station Tran Van Tuyen also said the ranger station did not catch anything about Minh's forest sale and the subsequent deforestation.
The illegal deforestation incident in Lang Chua Village happened more than two months ago but relevant agencies have not dealt with it in accordance with the law.
Tuyen Quang authorities should quickly investigate and consider the responsibilities of each individual and collective to take appropriate measures. VNS
Forest management officials in the northern mountainous province of Tuyen Quang are now using a forest fire-warning software on their smartphones as part of fire-prevention and efficiency measures.
Police in Quang Binh Province have launched criminal proceedings against seven people suspected on involvement in a deforestation case discovered at the beginning of March in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.